I've just returned from a three week stay on the little Caribbean island of Utila. Friendly people involved in the tourism industry and many similarities with our Caribbean island of Ambergris. I found it humors that they complained about the same things we complain about...except for one, plastic litter on the beaches and in town, there just wasn't any! The place stood out among many other islands like ourselves in that it was amazingly clean and free of plastic litter. I spent the time to investigate. Here is a little photo essay, with the hope to spark some ideas.
Its sold on the mainland to a recycling factory. This is not a charity, money makes it work. Money is paid to hotels and restaurants for what is collected by the van and money is paid to individuals that collect and turn in to the plant, then money is paid to the company from the recycling plant. Its a business.
I think the chinese buy it but Guatemala also buys it. The machine is the first step followed by a huge education camapign. They also buy bags of plastics from people who collect so it is great way for someone to make some extra cash. There are no plastics littering the beaches or streets in Utila......none. It take one full time employee to operate.
Just one machine in a simple building operated by one person. I'm sure the compactor cost a bit, like any business it would require some start up. Here is a shot of the Ambergris Caye site inspectors interviewing Albert!
Some years ago Barry installed a machine to crush and compact plastic bottles from Crystal and Fanta/Coke. He then offered a bounty on them. I never heard any more about it. Anyone know what happened to that program?
That would work in part because most societys have an element that would collect for the little bit of money it will get them. This Utila program has that aspect but more comes from the collection from the hotels and restaurants with the pickup from containers provided them and then the streets are all equipped with containers for plastics like the photo above. The van is the pick up van , similar to a garbage collection route.